Anticipation

It’s happening.  After 4.5 months of not racing and inconsistent training and foot pain and more cross training than I’ve ever done, I’m finally getting the opportunity to race the 3k tomorrow!

Of course, all the usual doubts are floating through my mind.  I’ve hardly done a stride in the past couple months.  Monday’s track workout was rough.  My body has been hurting for the past several days.  I’ve been stressed out from a vicious accounting midterm that I just finished an hour ago.  Have I been overeating?  I didn’t sleep enough last night.  I think I’m in good shape, and so does everyone else, but what if this objective track race reveals that I’m actually a slug?  Should I expect to PR after all this time?  All the usual things.

But.  BUT.  What I want to keep in mind is that I get to race tomorrow.  Not everyone gets this opportunity.  Who cares if I don’t PR? (Nobody but me, and maybe my coach.)  Who cares if I go out too hard and die?  I’ve stepped foot on the track like five times cumulatively since December, and it’s probably going to show.  I’m nowhere near as sharp as I’d like to be.  My pre-race rituals and mentality are rusty.  My feet are not used to spikes anymore.  I can’t even get up on my toes, which is a problem and will probably put a limit on how fast I can run/kick.  But I get to go out there tomorrow and run as hard as I can and see where I’m at!  And I’m so excited!

This was just a quick post, but I wanted to get it out there.  If I have a good race tomorrow, I’ll be thrilled and grateful and have some decisions to make regarding the rest of the season and my feet.  If I have a bad race, hey, it happens all the time.  There is more to me than my identity as a runner.  There is more to every runner than their identity as a runner.

 

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Autumnal

It’s fall break!!  After an incredibly stressful week, I am now home for a quick 24 hours and plan on soaking in autumn and decompressing as much as possible 🙂  Currently lying in bed drinking lemon ginger tea following an amazing Irish dinner- corned beef, cabbage, and roasted potatoes and vegetables, followed by freshly baked apple crisp.

It’s good to be home 🙂

As I mentioned previously, the past week has been hard.  Everything seemed to happen all at once.  School round-up: Hispanic Studies paper due, followed by a Gender in Society paper, followed by an accounting midterm, an unnecessarily vicious problem set, a Spanish midterm, and a presentation.  I am generally pretty good about balancing schoolwork and stress levels, but this week was something else.  I just tried to take it day by day, and I ended up surviving and getting decent grades on both midterms!  Not sure about the other grades yet.

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Studying and lunching

Running-wise, with three weeks between races, we’ve been in the midst of a particularly meaty training block.  Workouts have been hard.  Thankfully, our lifting instructor has started to taper our weight room routines in preparation for our upcoming races.  This has been sort of fun!  We’ve been focusing on the quality, not quantity, of our lifts, and on Thursday, after completing the requisite 2 sets of 5 chin-ups unassisted, our lifts instructor had me do an extra set with chains!

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I felt pretty darn badass afterwards

The past two weeks have been interesting in that I’ve hit higher mileage within 6 days and therefore have gotten two weeks in a row with a complete off day!  Last week, I hit 59 miles by Saturday, so I took Sunday off.  Same thing happened this week:

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Monday: AM: 3 miles + core. PM: 2 lap w/u, form and hurdle drills, speed ladder, 7 miles, 6 x 100m strides, upper body circuit.  Total = 10 miles.
Tuesday: 3 mile w/u, drills/strides, 3 x [1000, 800, 400] on the track with 2-3 min rec and a lap on the turf between sets, 3ish c/d.  Struggled with some dizziness in the second half, so my 3rd 800 was a 600.  Overall a weird workout.  Lower body lift + stretch/roll in weight room.  Ice bath.  Splits below.  Total = 10 miles.

  • Set 1: 3:33, 2:43, 78
  • Set 2: 3:28, 2:45, 80
  • Set 3: 3:33, idk, 76

Wednesday: 6 solo miles trails.  A bit tired.
Thursday: AM: 2 lap w/u, drills, 7.5ish miles, 4 x 150m strides, upper body lift in WR (with chainz).  PM: 3 miles + core.  Total = 11ish miles.
Friday:  3.5 mile w/u, drills, 4 mile tempo on wooded gravel trails (very twisty/hilly so ran about 26 minutes but thought I rallied well on the hills), 6 x :60h with :60-2:00 rec, 20 min c/d.  Ice bath. Total = 11 miles.
Saturday: 11 miles on trails and battlefield loop.  Ice bath.
Sunday (planned): off day with a bit of yoga/stretching

Total: 59 miles

I think I’m just kind of in a rhythm with training/doubles now.  Haven’t really felt the need to go above 60 mpw, so I’m content with taking another complete rest day 🙂 In fact, I didn’t even bring my running shoes home!

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Other thoughts:

  • Our next invitational is in six days!  I’m going to focus on recovery until then.  I’m thankful that this last week of school was the hard one, and hopefully I can stay on top of schoolwork while also relaxing in the coming days/weeks 🙂
  • Goals for the next race:  Go out conservatively.  I want to be able to rally and have a strong second half.
  • I’d like to decrease my coffee consumption- not that 16 ounces per day is nearly as bad as some people, but ideally I’ll get down to 8 ounces.  One cup and no more.  Although Wawa’s $1 any size coffee month is making that difficult 😉 But I’ve done it for 3 days in a row now!
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  • Along the same vein, I haven’t been super frugal recently…but I’ll try my hardest to rein in the grocery spending.  Or so I say…
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I adore fall.  And good friends and food.

That’s all for now!  I hope to write more soon 🙂

First race in uniform! + Thanksgiving, finals, and other things

I am currently smack in the middle of my first set of college finals, along with my running break.  So far, I’ve taken my microeconomics final (fine), bio 220 final (HORRIBLE), and I just turned in my final paper for my freshman seminar.  Next Wednesday, I have my Spanish final exam and final paper due.  After that, I head home for a month of running, sleeping, holiday cookie baking, dog sitting, and friends!

Thanksgiving break was pretty fun.  Although I did not repeat the Thanksgiving debacle of 2013, I did gorge myself pretty heartily over the five days.

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My brother and I after a solid hour of eating

Every lunch and dinner that I ate from Thursday to Sunday was leftovers.  Whoops.

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I also met up with my three best friends from high school for some holiday cookie baking on our last night home.  It was a lot of fun!

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After a nightmarish journey back to school due to post-Thanksgiving traffic, my roommate and I decorated our room for Christmas!

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Last Saturday was my first race in uniform- the 3k!  In the two weeks leading up to the race, I started experiencing pain in my lower right leg and foot, which I think was due to a combination of dead shoes, transitioning to the track, and just overall accumulation of training since June.  Also, I hammered easy runs and training in general over Thanksgiving break…oops.  There was one maintenance run especially where I ran with my (ALL-AMERICAN! YES, SHE GOT IT!) teammate and other speedy teammates, and I was dying.  Not fun.  I forced my legs to survive until the race, so they were less than 100%.  Oh, well!

We got to the venue around 3:15 and warmed up around 5:45 for 20 minutes.  It made me so happy to be back in the indoor track environment; I love indoor so much!  Even though it was a different venue with college teams instead of high school, it still made me really nostalgic for those hours spent sitting on the nasty yellow bleachers at the PG County Sportsplex in high school.

My coaches seeded everyone really fast so that we would be in the faster heat.  The first heat went off, and we did strides while we waited.  It was my first time wearing buns!

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We lined up and the gun went off.  I knew I was going way faster than I’d be able to keep up, but I just settled in and decided to enjoy it even though I knew I was going to die.  By lap 5, the bothersome pain that had been bugging one of my legs decided to flare up exponentially worse.  Both of my legs were on fire.  It felt like my shins were being ripped apart, and the feeling was getting worse every lap.  I tried to ignore it and focused on working with one of my teammates, and we came through the mile in 5:33.  The next seven laps were a struggle, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but yes, I ended up running in last.  Oh, well!

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The burning in my shins was horrid by the end of the race, but I finished in 10:47.  Not a terrible time for my first race in uniform!  I know I’m in much better shape than that, though.  After the race, I cooled down, then iced my shins for awhile, then gorged myself on Panera and chocolate chip cookies.

This break from running has been good to my legs so far, and I’m looking forward to getting back into training and doing all the little things that I’ve slightly neglected recently.  I love running.  I love indoor track.  I am so excited to race again. 🙂

 

States!!

This is going to be a long post, since I’m recapping three days.

Indoor season is officially over!  We arrived back from our fabulous states trip tired, stuffed, and satisfied.

Day 1:

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Hanging out at a rest stop in the middle of the drive

We left on around noon on Thursday and drove three hours to the meet facility, which was not as nice as the one where our invites, conference, and regional meets were held.  It didn’t have any windows and the air was stuffy and hot.  😦  We went for a 20-minute run down the road next to the facility and then drove to our hotel where we braved the freezing pool.

That night, we went to Olive Garden to carbo-load, even though none of us would be racing for more than two and a half minutes each the next day. (We were running girls’ and boys’ 4x800s.)  Being the typical pig that I am, I devoured a plate of spaghetti and meatballs that was four times as big as my head and probably about 1500 calories.  How do you eat slowly? I finished it in about ten minutes…

After dinner, we went back to the hotel and finished up the t-shirts we’d made.  Our team isn’t exactly well funded (even though we win more meets/championships than any other team at school!!! but let’s save that rant for another day), so our t-shirts were cheap white ones from the crafts store that we’d tie-dyed and Sharpied our names onto the back.  Still authentic, still a team-bonding activity.  We then watched 45 minutes of cat videos before going to bed.  We also took pictures like this:

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We’re the coolest people I know.

Day 2:

Friday was race day, but we weren’t racing until 8 pm (groan), so we had the entire day to waste.  We ate breakfast around 8:30, and I stole some food from the hotel breakfast bar because I have to have PB&J on race day.  It’s a thing.

photo 4-7I spent about an hour and a half working on vocab in order to feel semiproductive, then organized my food stash.  I had quite a collection of snacks.
photo 5-1 Pre-race bananas, post-race banana and Dove dark chocolate, orange, almond butter packets, trail mix, oatmeal, race-day English muffin, PB&J fixin’s, an apple…I also had cheese sticks, Greek yogurt, and Gatorade in the fridge below the counter.  I’m nothing if not prepared with food 😉

Two of my teammates and I went for a walk to the shopping center across the street in order to escape the hotel.  We went to Trader Joe’s, but I didn’t buy anything because I wasn’t so desperate for boysenberry jelly that I would buy a whole jar for one sandwich…

At 4:30, our coach called the four of us racing for a pre-race pep/strategy/let’s-get-serious talk, and I started to have serious nerves.  I’m really not an 800 runner (not because I’m bad at it– I just focus on the mile and two mile instead).  My coach had chosen me for the states relay over my friend who actually does run the 800 because I’d had a better season; I had absolutely no idea what I could run or how to even really race an 800.

We headed over to the track around 5:30 and got there around 6.  We warmed up and checked in, then had a team huddle.  The check-in/pre-race area was in the gym across from the track, so we all had to walk to the track barefoot in order to not scratch up the gym floor.

There were three heats before ours, so we had half an hour more to wait.  I looked around at the other team’s lineups and started internally freaking out when I saw who was running their third legs.  Our team’s lineup is always: 2nd fastest goes first, then 3rd fastest, then 4th fastest, then the fastest girl runs the anchor (meaning I was the third leg).  But some of the other teams had their fastest girl running the third leg, which was a tiny bit terrifying.

The gun went off and my teammate was immediately tripped and almost fell on her face.  Whoops!  After a shaky start, she ran a solid leg and put us in fourth or fifth place.  Our second leg ran phenomenally to put us in a tie for second/third.  I lined up to get the baton, and I realized I was going to get the baton in between two girls who run at the national level.  Eeek!

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In other news, look at my shoulder definition! 😉 Those lifting sessions are paying off.

Since I had no freakin’ clue what an 800 was supposed to feel like, I just tried to stick with the girl in front of me.

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It was fast.

800s are faster than miles and twos.

(Well, duh.  How insightful.)

Anyway, I ran as hard as I could and handed off in fourth place.

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The hand-off wasn’t nearly as awkward as it looks–it’s just that I’m left-handed and she’s right-handed.

My teammate ran a great anchor leg, even though she wasn’t satisified, and we ended up finishing fourth, setting a school indoor record, and recording a US top 20 time!!

Satisfying?  I think yes.  (I also set a 6-second PR, which sounds impressive but remember, I don’t run 800s.)

After the race, we went to yet another pasta restaurant because my teammate (the one pictured above) was also running the next day.  I inhaled yet another giant plate of pasta in 1.56 seconds, and I challenged the boys on my team to an eating contest (but they wouldn’t take it).

Day 3:

One of my teammates and I went for a 15-minute early morning shakeout run to end our season, then came back to the hotel and ate breakfast.  We went back to the track to watch our other teammate race, and she ended up getting second place!!!!  We then hit the road and arrived back home in the evening.

All in all, it was a satisfying, busy weekend, but now I have a ton of homework to do.  I’m now on a ten-day running break, so along with going stir-crazy from exercise deprivation, I’ll try to post about my eating/homework plans for the upcoming week.